Planning a Wedding in Nova Scotia

Bride and groom wooden signs for chairs at a wedding.

Planning a wedding can seem really overwhelming at the start, but once you and your fiance sit down for a couple of hours and talk about some key items, it will become a pretty easy and fun process. I’ve put together a detailed 12 month wedding planner timeline for planning your Nova Scotia Wedding. Although you can use it pretty much for a wedding anywhere! Start your wedding planning journey with some great advise to help you along the way below:

12+ Months Prior To Your Wedding Day

Figure Out Your Wedding Budget

The average Nova Scotia wedding costs approximately $29,500.
A. Take the time as a couple to decide how much both of you want to invest in your wedding day.
B. Set up a meeting with each set of parents and ask if they want to invest anything towards your wedding.
C. Take the time to decide what things could be DIY, if you are trying to cut costs.
D. Things that are most important to you, make sure you allocate more money towards those things.
PRO TIP: Make it clear any financial help is super appreciated but that contributing doesn’t mean they get to make decisions about your wedding day.

A wedding welcome sign at a White Point wedding ceremony.

Decide On What Type of Wedding You Want

What type of wedding do you prefer? Do you want the full large size wedding with 200 guests and family, the dream venue, dream dress, every detail down to the smallest detail. Or would you prefer a more initmate wedding with just 20 of your closest friends and family? Perhaps you and your fiancé would prefer an intimate elopement, just the two of you. Perhaps you’re dealing with the Covid pandemic and government restrictions. Check out my blog post on how to deal with your wedding planning in trying covid times.

Decide What Wedding Traditions You DON’T Want.

Remember this is your wedding day. If there are old traditions you just don’t want to do, don’t do them! Lots of couples are removing traditions like bouquet and garter tosses. If dancing isn’t your thing or you think games are corny, you don’t need to do them. Your wedding day should reflect your personalities and how unique you are as a couple.

Set A Wedding Date

Before locking in a date, make sure your must have vendors and venues have that wedding date available. Trending dates may cost more then dates that aren’t trending. Some vendors will have discounted prices for weekday versus weekend wedding dates. Off season dates may have a different price then prime wedding season dates.

Booking Wedding Vendors

You should always book the wedding vendor that means the most to you first. If photography, for example, is the most important aspect to you, you may want to book your venue around your photographer’s availability. If there is a particular venue you absolutely want then you would book your other vendors around the venue’s availability. Most popular vendors in Nova Scotia such as venues, photographers, videographers, makeup artists and hairstylists book up to 1.5 years in advance.

Research And Book Your Venue

The wedding ceremony set up at Digby Pines.
Digby Pines Resort

There are so many amazing venues to choose from in Nova Scotia. From waterfront wedding venues to barn style or hotels, there are no shortages of choices. Nova Scotia wedding venues range in pricing from $500 to $5000 and upwards.

Spend time looking at venues that you love, be mindful of both the perfect weather and not so perfect weather options with venues. Some venues do not have great back up plans or any options if there is rain on your wedding day. Know you rain day options. Make sure you love every aspect of the venue no matter the season or weather on your day.

Associated Blog Post
Tips & Questions To Ask Wedding Venues & List of favorite NS Wedding Venue!

Book Your Wedding Photographer & Videographer

The bride and groom wedding photos taken amongst a huge tree at Digby Pines.

I recommend that you book your venue, photographer and videographer at the same time. You don’t want to lock in your venue only to find out that your wedding photography dream team isn’t available for your date. For the majority of couples, wedding videography is a last thought. I get a ton of inquiries for videography when couples are two to three months out and they’ve already hired their photographer that doesn’t offer videography. If you are even remotely thinking about videography, you should be looking for a photographer who offers both. It will reduce your costs hiring one vendor versus two separate vendors. Did you know I offer both photography and videography? Also consider the photographer’s style and make sure you LOVE their work. But most of all make sure your wedding photographer is a registered business in good standing with the government of Nova Scotia. Protect yourself.

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Average Cost of A Wedding Photographer
Questions To Ask A Wedding Photographer
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Do You Need A Second Wedding Photographer.

10 Months Prior To Your Wedding Date

Select your Wedding Party

Funny wedding party photos with bride and groom in a boat during a backyard wedding in Halifax, NS.

Choose only the people you truly want in your wedding party. People you want standing and supporting you through your wedding journey together. The numbers don’t need to be even on both sides. Remember this is your wedding and you can do anything you like! That might look like 10 on each side, 4 on one side and 7 on the other, or 1 or 0 on each side, or perhaps just the two of you standing at the alter together. Consider the personalities of those you choose for your wedding party too, are they conservative or fun? This photographer likes to see their fun personalities shining through in wedding photos.

Plan The Guest List

Invite ONLY people you WANT there. Again, this is your wedding day, not your parents, your siblings or your friends. This isn’t the time to invite so and so because you are inviting so and so. Weddings are an investment, and each table of guests will add close to $700-$1000, when all is said and done.

Decide on Your Wedding Theme

Have fun with this, but also make sure its a theme you will love to look back on as well. Remember you don’t have to buy brand new unless you want to. There are a ton of Nova Scotia facebook groups with couples selling their used wedding supplies. From wedding gowns to wedding reception decorations, you have just as many options buying used as you do new. I’ve added all of the Nova Scotia facebook group links at the end of this blog post, check them out!

Shop For Your Wedding Dresses and Tuxes

A collage of the bride's wedding dress, bridal bouquet, wedding shoes and wedding rings among the flower.

Start shopping for your wedding gown, bridesmaid and flower girl attire. Wedding gowns can range from $100 to $10,000+ depending on what you want and whether you want to buy new or used. Perhaps you want to rent, that is a possibility too. Whatever you decide, bring just 1-2 people to your first few wedding dress appointments. Once you find that dress, you know the one, the one you want to say “Yes To The Dress” to, bring the whole entourage to that fitting appointment! If you want to buy used don’t forget to check out my list of wedding facebook groups in Nova Scotia and start your hunt there!

When it comes to the groom’s tuxes, most couples rent. Make sure all of the guys in the wedding party are there and their suits fit properly. The worst thing for a groom is an ill fitted tux on the wedding day. He is sure to be picking at all day long. Make sure it’s the perfect fit!

Check out my blog post on wedding dress styles too!

Book A Wedding Planner or Day of Coordinator

Wedding planners and day of coordinators in Nova Scotia range from $600+ for the day of to $3500+ for full planning. A good wedding planner can save you so much time and stress. they are well worth their skills. You don’t have to worry about anything on your wedding day, they take care of it all. Even a day of coordinator can be gold, taking away the stress of decorating and the tear down at the wedding venue.

8 Months Prior To Your Wedding Date

Justice of the Peace, Officiant, Minister

If you decide on a church wedding you will most likely be giving a donation to your church for your wedding ceremony. You can also consider hiring a JOP officiant or get a friend or family member ordained to perform your wedding ceremony. Nova Scotia’s justice of the peace officiants have a set provincial mandated rate for their services of $200 per ceremony with an additional $100 for dress rehearsals.

The bride and groom under the wedding arch during their wedding ceremony at the Old Orchard Inn.
Old Orchard Inn Heritage Barn

Hire Other Wedding Vendors

Choose Your Caterer

Depending on the wedding venue you have chosen you may or may not have to hire your own catering for your wedding. Most catering starts around $25 per person up to $150+ a person, depending on what you want. Your usual choices for catering are either buffet or plated. Find links to caters in Nova Scotia at the end of this post.

Want something a little more unique for your wedding guests? How about a food or late night dessert truck? Check out my list of food trucks for your wedding.

Find Hair and Makeup Artists

The cost for these wedding vendors start at $65 a person and up. The cost of hair per person may increase depending on the length of the person’s hair. But in general you can expect $65 per person for both vendors. Look for a vendor that does both, it may help reduce the costs.

The bride having her bridal makeup applied to her face before her Juno Tower wedding.

Select Your DJ or Band

This will largely depend on what you as a couple want and possibly your budget as well. DJ’s range from $500 and up, while bands can be much more expensive. Consider what you both like music wise when choosing.

Book Any Rentals Needed

Depending on your venue, you may need to rent chairs, tables, table linens, table settings, chair covers, head table backdrops, cake backdrops and more. If you’re looking for wedding rentals, check out the links below this post for Nova Scotia wedding rental companies.

A wedding reception setup for Juno Tower in Halifax NS.
Juno Tower

Set Up Your Wedding Engagement Session

If you’ve chosen to have a wedding engagement shoot with your wedding photographer, now is the time to set up a date for this session. Your wedding photographer will need at minimum of two weeks to edit and get your images to you. So it’s best to have your session no later then 6 months prior to your wedding date. Remember save the dates and invitations usually go out at three to four months in advance of your wedding date, so you want these photos back prior to that.

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Nova Scotia Engagement Photography Locations

A cute couple embracing for their engagement photos at Peggys Cove in Nova Scotia.

Book Hotel Rooms For Your Guests and Vendors

Now is the time to book and block off any hotel rooms that may be needed for your guests and wedding vendors.

6 Months Prior

Engagement Session and Hair&Makeup Trials

Consider having your hair and makeup trial the day of your engagement photography shoot. This will allow you to see how your wedding photos may look like with your hair and makeup done.

Book Your Cake Decorator

Average cost of a wedding cake in Nova Scotia $500 plus depending on how many tiers you want and how elaborate that cake design is. Consider a cake decorator that will allow you to taste test their products and what kind of theme you want for your cake. Do you want to purchase a cake or DIY your wedding cake with cupcakes? I’ve had many brides create and design their own wedding cakes.

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Wedding Cake Ideas
Wedding Cupcake Ideas

An elegant ivory wedding cake with bride and groom figurine at a Lord Nelson Hotel wedding.

Choose Your Wedding Florist

Real flowers can start at $75+ for centerpieces alone. It can get quite expensive quickly depending on the size of your bridal party. Consider whether you want real flowers, silk faux flowers which can be much cheaper or even bridal brooch bouquets. Do you want to buy new, used or even DIY your bridal bouquets? All of these decisions will vary the cost of your flowers greatly.

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Bridal Wedding Bouquets Ideas

A fall themed and colored wedding bridal brooch bouquet.

Choose Your Wedding Invitation Designer

The average cost of wedding invitations in Nova Scotia varies depending on whether you purchase them or DIY it. Purchasing from a designer prices can start at $400+. Choose your wedding invitation designer and collaborate with them on what you want.

Send Out Your Save The Dates

It’s time to design and send out your save the dates for your wedding. Remember this is your wedding, if you don’t want to do these, your invitations will suffice.

A couple hold hands against the gatehouse in Point Pleasant Park in Halifax, NS.

Create Your Wedding Day Timeline

If you choose the right wedding photographer they will be more then willing to help you with this. I work with my clients from day one, during their wedding consult we hash out their initial wedding day timeline and wedding day photo list. We then continue to revise these right up to a month before their wedding when we finalize everything. Need help with your wedding day timeline?

Associated Blog Post
Creating A Wedding Timeline With Samples

Wedding Ceremony Decisions

A couple things to consider when you are creating the timeline for your wedding ceremony, would you like an unplugged versus plugged wedding ceremony? Do you want to see a sea of cellphones and tablets during your ceremony?

An unplugged ceremony sign welcoming the guests at the ceremony location at Digby Pines.

Or how about adding a little something unique to your wedding ceremony like a fisherman’s or lover’s knot tieing ceremony?

Associated Blog Posts
Unplugged Wedding Ceremony
Top 14 Wedding Ceremony Traditions and Rituals

The bride and groom tie a fishermans knot or lovers knot during their wedding ceremony at the Lower Deck Tap Room in Halifax, NS.

Build Your Wedding Registry

There are so many options for wedding registries. If you already have a place together, you could consider a honeymoon registry or a home renovation fund. If you don’t live together or still live at home, pick 1-2 places to set up a traditional registry for household items or set up a home down payment fund. Think about things and places that you will benefit from the most as a couple.

3 Months Prior To Your Wedding Date

Send Out Wedding Invitations

Grab that wedding guest list and start licking envelopes:)

Wedding Favors, Yes or No?

Choose whether or not you want to offer your guests wedding favors and purchase them. If it’s a favor you think your guests will not keep in the long term, save your money. You could also consider hiring a photo booth or character artist for guests favors in place of favors.

The wedding favors displayed at a Best Western Chocolate Lake wedding.

Schedule Final Walk Through with Venue

This isn’t necessary unless you feel you need a walk through with the venue.

Have Your Wedding Shower and Parties

Prepare for your bridal shower, create a guest list and make sure you have someone making notes of who gave you which gifts, so you can create your thank you cards. If you are someone who doesn’t like games, don’t do them! It’s your bridal shower:)

2 Months Prior To Your Wedding Date

Wedding Vows

Decide whether you both want to write your own wedding vows. Create and finalize those vows.

Organize Transportation

Do you need transportation for the wedding party? How will both of you, the bride and groom, be getting to the wedding ceremony, wedding formal photos location and the reception? Organize your transportation needs.

The bride getting out of a limo for her wedding photos at the farmer's market in Halifax.

Wedding Party Gifts

Choose your wedding gifts for the bridal and groom parties. Purchase and wrap them. Your photographer is going to want to take pictures of the wrapped gifts and the unwrapping of those gifts by your wedding party.

Book Rehearsal Dinner Space

Make preparations with your JOP or Minister for your dress rehearsal and find out what is required for set up.

6 Weeks Prior To Your Wedding Date

It’s time to start finalizing things. Starting with your marriage license. These expire after 2 months so now is the time to go get it. Confirm details with all your wedding vendors. Your final wedding dress fitting should be done now. As a couple you should also be finalizing your seating chart.

3 Weeks Prior To Your Wedding Date

Pamper Yourself

Plan a pamper day for yourself. Make sure to fit in a couple nice massages, facials, and don’t forget to get your hair color touched up or your spray tan done 7 days before your wedding at the latest. A little pampering before the big day is a must, bring your MOH or mom with you. Drink lots of water. Hydration is so important for your wedding day.

Dress Rehearsal

Send the location and meeting time to those in your family and wedding party who need to attend the rehearsal ahead of time. Double check you have enough space for your rehearsal dinner for everyone attending.

3 Days Prior To Wedding Date

Rest

You need to make sure you are getting a solid nights sleep each night leading up to your wedding day. Rest. Take the next 3 days to relax.

Wedding Day and Honeymoon

Don’t leave packing for the day before, have everything ready to go. When family arrives in to town, you can just enjoy visiting with everyone leading up to your wedding day.

The Wedding Day

The day will go by so quickly, so savor and enjoy every single moment of it. Don’t sweat the stressful things that can happen, delegate someone else to deal with those things on your big day:)

The bride and groom dance with their guests during their Juno Tower wedding reception.

Additional Wedding Links

1. Check out some of my favorite wedding advise blog posts…
10 Reasons Why You Should Have Engagement Photos Taken
Elopement, Intimate Wedding, or Full Party Wedding Planning During Covid
Planning a Winter Wedding

NS Wedding Venues Plus Tips For Choosing the Perfect Venue

JOP, Hair&Makeup and DJ’s

Check out some of my favorite wedding vendors.

Wedding Facebook Groups in Nova Scotia

Annapolis Wedding Buy and Sell and more
Antigonish Wedding Buy and Sell
Buy & Sell Wedding and Bridesmaids NS

Cape Breton Wedding Buy and Sell
Halifax (NS, Canada) Wedding Buy/Sell

Halifax NS Wedding Resources
HRM Wedding Gowns
NB NS & PEI Weddings/Events Vendors
New Glasgow Wedding Site
NS Weddings
NS weddings and special events
Nova Scotia Wedding Planning

Pictou County Wedding Vendors
Pictou County Wedding Resources
Port Hawksbury Wedding site

Rentals Promotions Buy and Sell Weddings
Second Hand Wedding Cape Breton
Something Borrowed
South shore of NS prom dresses
Truro and area wedding buy and sell
Wedding Advise/Questions
Wedding Supplies for Sale in Annapolis Valley
Yarmouth NS Weddings

Wedding Facebook Groups in New Brunswick

Fredericton Brides
Greater Moncton Wedding Page Buy/Sell
Moncton second hand wedding supplies
New Brunswick dj/show/events wedding
New Brunswick Secondhand Wedding Supplies
Prom and wedding dresses NB

Wedding Facebook Groups in PEI

Anthing To Do with Weddings
PEI Wedding Buy, Sell Trade
Wedding Love PEI
PEI
Wedding Professionals
WeddingVendors/Brides to be PEI

Wedding Facebook Groups in Canada

Wedding Hub Canada
Canada Wedding Buy and Sell
Canada Wedding Vendors and Events
Canadian brides and wedding planning
Everything Weddings! Love Weddings Canada
The Wedding Group
Weddings in Canada
Wedding Planning Canada

Wedding Dress Shops in Nova Scotia

Sanlilies Bridal – Amherst
Annabell’s Fashion – Bedford
Primrose Lane – Bridgewater
David’s Bridal – Dartmouth
Karma Bridal – Dartmouth
Alyssas – Halifax
Chester and Felicity – Halifax
Miss Foxine – Halifax
Oak Hall – North Sydney
Moments Bridal – Truro
Tatum’s Bridal – Windsor

Tux Shops in Nova Scotia

Tip Top Tailers – Dartmouth
Colwell’s Clothing – Halifax
Dugger’s Fashion – Halifax
Modern Suiting – Halifax
Moores – Halifax
The Suitor – Halifax
Vogue Menswear – Halifax

Wedding Floral Shops

Blossom Shop – Halifax
Elegant Creations Wedding Bouquets – Halifax

Wedding Cake Designers

Cake Babes – Dartmouth
Lily Cakes – Halifax
Sky’s The Limit – Halifax
Twice as Nice Cupcakes & More – Lawrenctown

Caterers in Nova Scotia

D’Aubin Family Meats – Bridgetown
Baked in Bakery and Eatery – Centerville
Kitchen Door Catering – Dartmouth
Certainly Cinnamon – Halifax

Wedding Rental Companies

One Stop Event and Decor – Bedford
The Wedding Vogue – Dartmouth
The Ultimate Party and Rental Store – Halifax
Party Time Rentals – Truro

Wedding Planners and Coordinators

Vogue Events – Dartmouth
Elegant Productions Wedding Planning – Halifax
I Do Dream Destination Weddings – Halifax
KM Wedding & Event Co – Halifax
One Day Affair Wedding Decor Design – Halifax
Ready or Not Wedding & Event Planning – Halifax
Simply Weddings – Halifax
Wedding Whisperer – Halifax

Wedding Transportation

Woods Limousine $90/hr 14 passenger van, Dartmouth

Capturing your LVE story is my passion…let’s chat!

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